How to take stock of and document your year

January 5, 2023

A valuable habit for evaluating career fit and fulfillment and negotiating a pay raise. 

By Tory Campbell, ’00 
Senior Associate Executive Director, Experience 
OSU Alumni Association  

This is a new year, and often our eyes are set on our pressing present and unforeseen future. However, seeing that it’s January 2023 and you managed to live and work through another full year, it is essential to take stock of last year’s efforts, successes, growth and measurable wins.  

What we’re talking about is more than a quick annual review exercise, but rather an honest moment to assess how you have spent the last 2,087 hours — the average number of work hours in a calendar year — in your current job and whether the position is worth another 2,087 hours this year. 

Here are three things you gain when you take stock and document your past year’s success.  

  • Validation for a commonly asked question: is this job for me truly fulfilling and making the most of my skills? 

  • Better preparedness for a salary negotiation conversation, as you come equipped with documented facts.  

  • Higher confidence so you know that you’re ready to take on a new job — or a reminder that you are a healthy contributor to your current company and in a sweet spot in your career.  

By leading this evaluation for yourself, separate from your required mid-year or annual review, you ensure that you hold onto the power to tell your story, better negotiate your worth and take greater command of your career. 

Five ways to document a year’s worth of stellar work.  

  1. Start with a list of key projects - Create a list of projects, milestones, customer service saves, expansion efforts you led, panels you spoke on, and innovation or efficiencies you developed for the company.  

  1. Create a digital file - Gather important emails, PowerPoints you created, digital or hardcopy project collateral, links to third-party stories written about the project, and photos or videos to create a digital file of your work. 

  1. Project-role clean up - Capture the true extent of your role, your original assignment, the things you took on beyond the initial assignment, the outcome(s) and the metrics hit.  

  1. Let others sing your praise - Pursue a note or letter of commendation from a customer or supervisor, community member, civic leader or company that your project and efforts served.  

  1. Not bragging, just saying - Post an end-of-year reflection on LinkedIn about how this was a productive and rewarding year; for example, “Here are a few ways I was able to be a healthy contributor, stretch myself and impact people’s lives.” 

Sneak peek: Stay tuned for next month’s career feature about the importance of checking in on your network to build and sustain your connections.